COLUMBUS GROVE — When it’s cold outside, Columbus Grove residents know just where to go to get a good workout.
Columbus Grove Elementary School may not mirror a community center’s or private gym’s indoor tracks, but its looping hallways have been good enough for the town for more than 15 years, and its free.
“It’s really become something that’s been a mainstay for our district,” said Nick Verhoff, the district’s superintendent.
It all started after the original elementary school was built in 1988, it’s hallways featured a loop going through the school that people started to use to stretch their legs when going outdoors wasn’t an option. So, when the district began building the new elementary school, representatives made sure to include a similar type of hallway for its students and community.
Though its not as exciting as the great outdoors, it’s the only alternative locals would have if they wanted to run, or even just go for a walk, without the risk of frostbite during the winter months.
Usually, district staff, students, athletes and community members are able to use the school’s hallways for exercise after school hours until about 9 p.m. or whenever custodians lock up for the night, Verhoff said. Most people avoid using the hallway on nights with big events or games. However, once things warm up or on days schools are canceled, its users are sent back outside.
Verhoff, who sometimes uses the hallway to workout or walk with his wife, said about a dozen people can show up on a given night. Most are adults, but school teams use it as do parents, sometimes with strollers, or even alumni.
Superintendent Secretary Diana Stechschulte, also uses the hallway, usually to walk.
“I appreciate having the building open to us and the public,” she said. “It’s a nice feature.”
Stechschulte said there’s a number of staff and community members that use the hallway on a daily basis, including the elementary school’s sectary Deb Barto. Having been secretary for 16 years, Barto said there’s a group of faculty that meets every day after school to work out.
“We wouldn’t have an opportunity to do it if we didn’t have the school,” she said. “Just about every sport we have in the school uses” the hallway.